It’s always refreshing when 3D adds something, and it surely does in this picture. We get amazing landscapes and day-glo fluorescent colors. All the running around from the characters creates a nice energy that helps in 3D also.
All of this was written by Monty Python’s legendary comedic genius John Cleese. Some of the funniest things I’ve ever seen involve that man (top of the list has to be A Fish Called Wanda). Unfortunately, this movie wasn’t all that funny. The kids are going to love the slapstick elements, though. I brought a 10-year-old that enjoyed it.
Here’s the story of the caveman family called the Croods. Grug is the father, played by Nicolas Cage (perfecting to cast him as a caveman…if only he were around for Quest for Fire). He likes to utter the phrases like “Never not be afraid!” This becomes problematic for Eep (Emma Stone). She’s the rebellious daughter who wants to be out climbing and exploring her surroundings.
Ugga (Catherine Keener) is the mother, and Cloris Leachman is the nagging mother-in-law of Grug. There’s a dumb brother named Thunk (Clark Duke), and a baby that acts like a rabid dog.
Since there are lots of animals roaming the prehistoric landscape (some real, and some that look like they’re from Dr. Seuss), Grug thinks it’s best they stay in the cave as often as possible. It gets dark in there with a boulder covering it, especially since they haven’t invented fire.
That changes when Guy (Ryan Reynolds) shows up. He has fire, and he lights a fire, under Eep. As her crush grows, her dad gets more and more frustrated with this new, smart kind of homo-sapian. The dad should really be more understanding. After all, he invents shoes, and we all know how women love shoes. It also gets Grug trying to come up with some inventions to impress the dames. His sunglasses aren’t so bad.
The movie becomes a road picture as the Croods all seek higher ground when their cave is destroyed and lava periodically starts spewing from the ground.
Filmmakers Chris Sanders and Kirk DeMicco made Lilo & Stitch and How to Train Your Dragon. They’ve created a movie that’s visually stunning, but just like Brave, a slightly better script was needed.
There were certainly moments I think about now and chuckle at; Grug, at the first signs of danger, yelling “Stay inside the family kill circle.”
The narrative just follows a familiar arc of predictability, and I was a bit bored at times.
There are lots of sweet moments, especially the father/daughter bonding in the 3rd act.
At least this is a movie the whole family can enjoy.
There’s one point where Grug says “Big words upset me.” I wondered if that was something Nic Cage actually said in the recording studio that wasn’t meant to be in the movie. If you look at his career the last 15 years, it seems apropos.
I’m giving this movie 2 ½ stars out of 5.